Memorandum submitted by Mr Bill Glad,
General Secretary, London 2005 (Organising Committee for the proposed
London IAAF WCA)
This evidence has been compiled following the
decision by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport
to withdraw the Government's support for the Lee Valley National
Athletics Centre at Picketts Lock and the submission of evidence
by the Secretary of State and the Minister for Sport to the Committee
on 16 October 2001.
All those involved with the winning of the bid
to bring the 2005 World Championships in Athletics to London and
the organisation of the event are, naturally, disappointed with
the decision and concerned about the impact it will have on athletics
and sport in the United Kingdom. On behalf of London 2005, I welcome
the opportunity to add to the evidence given by UK Athletics and
the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and to comment on the specific
In her evidence, the Secretary of State said
that the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in London faced
the prospect of being a substandard event. The reasons given were
the same as her reasons for withdrawing the Government's commitment
to the Picketts Lock Stadium project, namely the fact that upgrading
of transport links could not be delivered in time and "even
more pressing, the compound problem of athletes' accommodation".
With respect, I believe the Secretary of State
has not been properly briefed on this matter. She indicated that
she based her decisions on the Carter Report but the team working
on that project seemed determined not to develop an understanding
of these particular issues and they overly discounted the available
information to produce simplistic and incorrect conclusions.
The spectator management strategy for the championships,
developed by the respected transport consultants Oscar Faber,
was based on the assumption that the rail infrastructure improvements
would not be made in time for the championships. These plans were
considered and passed as a part of the statutory planning process.
On a tour of the site the IAAF General Secretary endorsed the
plans. This issue is dealt with in detail in Chapter 5 of the
evidence given by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
From an event organiser's point of view, the
plans to have 48 per cent of the spectators arrive at "park
and ride" centres near the M25 and another 14 per cent at
the Tottenham Hale Underground station before coming into the
stadium on shuttle buses, dropping off/picking up in the stadium
car park (a system that was used successfully at the championships
in Edmonton this year and will, I am informed, be the exclusive
means access for 40,000 spectators at next year's Ryder Cup),
would have been far preferable to on-site parking arrangements
as it would have reduced the difficulties of moving athletes,
VIPs, other materials.
To summarise: from our point of view, the transport
infrastructure upgrade was never part of the plan for the championships
and the inability to deliver it in time is, therefore, a non-issue.
Secondly, our plans for athlete accommodation
were anything but a compound problem. The Carter Report's main
issue was with transport between the athlete accommodation and
stadium. There is an unwritten understanding that 30 minutes or
less driving time is the target for organisers of the championships,
though there have been cases where this has not been achieved.
I have been driven from the Stadium to the Hatfield campus, using
what may or may not be the best route, in 27 minutes in the slow
lane during rush hour. When the IAAF General Secretary was informed
of this, he was quite clear that the arrangements would be satisfactory.
I might also add that, in the main, the athletes would have been
travelling before the rush hour and against the flow of traffic
leaving London, that the championships would have been staged
in the summer holiday period when traffic is lighter and that
it would have been possible to put traffic management arrangements
I have worked in some capacity at all but one
of the IAAF's World Championships since 1983. After visiting the
University of Hertfordshire campus in Hatfield and discussing
the matter with the UK Athletics Performance Director, Max Jones,
I was convinced that the whole scope of the arrangements for the
athletes would have been a highlight of the championships in London.
For the information of the Committee, the main attractions of
basing the athlete accommodation in Hatfield were:
The student accommodation (1,000
beds already built, 1,600 to be constructed in 2003, all in single
rooms) would have been first rate and on two campuses that were
a short walk from each other.
Adjacent to the two campuses is the
Galleria shopping centre with cinemas, restaurants and other entertainment
There are several good standard hotels
in the near vicinity of the two campuses for teams that chose
not to stay in the student accommodation.
There are three training tracks,
all within 15 minutes of the student accommodation. The campus
also has all other required facilities for training and sports
The close proximity of all the accommodation
and training facilities meant that the co-ordination of transport
would have been relatively simple.
To summarise: the athlete accommodation arrangements
would have been more than satisfactory and it is incorrect to
say that they made the stadium or the championships unviable.
In my opinion, the various risks and doubts
that the Carter Report brings up have tended to cloud the debate
on what should be the main issue discussed in the wake of this
matter. We should not be arguing about details of the operation
of the championships. With the right will all these could have
been sorted out satisfactorily. Nor should we get caught up in
the cost of the stadium. The difference between what was already
available for Picketts Lock and what the Government was being
asked to put in was accurately expressed by Mr Wyatt's technical
should we be second-guessing the decision to move athletics from
Wembley. That decision, right or wrong, was taken. Instead, we
should be looking at the bigger issue of commitment and delivery.
Two points that the Secretary of State made
in her evidence struck me. The first was the need for decisions
on major sporting events to be strategy-led, the second was the
need for clarity as to the nature of Government involvement in
big projects. She is right on both points. For all but the most
commercially successful sports any society, represented by its
Government, must make the strategic decision whether the tangible
and intangible benefits of the sport justify investment in facilities
and major events.
This is the decision that the then Secretary
of State Mr Smith took. In his presentation to the IAAF Council
in April 2000, Mr Smith was very clear about the need for a legacy
for athletics, including a home that was separate from football,
and how the staging of the World Championships in Athletics would
help in the achievement of that aim. He was thinking strategically
and I believe he understood the need for Government involvement
and the potential cost implications of delivering.
The most important thing, however, is that Mr
Smith, with the written endorsement of the Prime Minister, repeatedly
made a commitment to the IAAF, to the sport and to the country.
Once a commitment is made only the direst circumstances can justify
going back on it. The IAAF do not understand what has changed
in the UK since the award of the championships to London that
has put us in such circumstances. In their view, we have a moral
obligation to deliver the championships in London.
The real issue that should be debated, therefore,
concerns the damage to sport in the UK and the implications for
the country of reneging on promises made by Government.
I was asked by the Clerk to comment on the offer
by the Government to stage the championships in Sheffield and
the chances of Sheffield winning should a new bid be made.
The IAAF has been clear from the beginning:
the championships were awarded to London. In spite of statements
which attempt to justify a view by looking at past editions of
the Championships, the IAAF has also made it clear, starting with
the time the late President Dr Primo Nebiolo informed the then
Minister for Sport Mr Banks, that its forward looking strategy
is to take the championships to major capital cities such as London,
Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. On this basis, I do not believe that
it is realistic to offer Sheffield as an alternative to London.
With regard to making a new bid from Sheffield,
apart from the fact that the city simply does not meet the IAAFs
strategic requirements, the first three specific challenges that
come to mind are:
The stadium and associated facilities
are not adequate and even with substantial investment would struggle
to be called "state of the art" which is the requirement
of the IAAF Event Organisation Agreement.
During the World Student Games in
1991, the number and quality of hotels in the city was seen as
a major problem. The IAAF would be aware of this (Dr Nebiolo was
President of both the IAAF and FISU) and I expect they would look
very closely to see if things had changed in the intervening decade.
The IAAF would be aware that it became
necessary for FISU to take legal action against the local organisers
of the World Student Games before all aspects of the event contract
Finally, as someone who has spent the better
part of my working life in the field of sport development, I would
like to comment on the suggestion that sporting success can be
achieved by focusing investment on grass root facilities and programmes
while ignoring major events. To separate the two would be short-sighted.
To suggest that this was the strategy Australia took from the
mid 1970s until the Sydney Olympics in 2000 is to ignore the numerous
major events they staged in athletics and other sports during
that period and the unsuccessful bids by Brisbane and Melbourne
for the Olympics prior to finally winning the Games in 1993. Make
no mistake, they were pushing on both fronts.
Major events create the demand for the facilities
and programmes by inspiring and energizing new generations of
participants. Ask anyone in tennis about the "Wimbledon Effect"
each summer when thousands of kids crowd on to every available
court in the country after the two weeks of the championships.
The 10 days of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics were
a once in a lifetime opportunity to do the same for athletics.
The challenge for the country would have been to be ready to absorb
and retain the influx of talent and enthusiasm by making the investment
in the grass roots at the same time.
I was also surprised at the statement to the
effect that athletes do not particularly mind in which city they
win their medals. "Home field advantage" is such a universally
understood concept in sport that I am almost embarrassed to be
informing the Committee about it. Winning medals in major events
is sometimes the result of where the competition takes place.
I think this can be made clear very quickly by considering the
experience of Spain as illustrated in the table below:
|Total medals won by Spain in all Summer Olympic Games 1898-1988
|Medals won by Spain in the Barcelona Olympic Games 1992
Moreover, by winning five gold medals in Atlanta in 1996,
Spain demonstrated how hosting a major event can help to raise
performance standards on a long-term basis as well.
An even better illustration of how important where a competition
is staged is to an athlete would be a video of the Women's 400
metres final at last year's Olympic Games. I challenge anybody
to watch that and then say publicly that Kathy Freeman did not
particularly mind that she was running in Sydney.
In the evidence, a review of sport policy by the Policy and
Innovation Unit was announced. On behalf of London 2005 I can
say that we would be willing to provide evidence and otherwise
assist in the process.
1 November 2001
"Diddly squat", Q166, evidence taken before the Culture,
Media and Sport Committee on 23 October 2001. Back